National Hockey Stadium (Milton Keynes)
|The Hockey Stadium|
|Full name||National Hockey Stadium and Conference Centre|
|Field size||100 x 64 m|
|England Hockey (1995–2003)|
Wimbledon F.C. (2003–04)
Milton Keynes Dons F.C. (2004–07)
The National Hockey Stadium was a sports stadium in Milton Keynes, United Kingdom, with a nominal capacity of around 4,000 seats: this was temporarily increased to 9,000 between 2003 and 2007. The stadium no longer exists, having been demolished and replaced by a new headquarters building for Network Rail.
In summer 2007, the Dons relocated to the Stadium mk, their new stadium near Bletchley leaving the hockey stadium without a tenant. From then until late 2009 (when demolition began in preparation for the site to be redeveloped), the ground remained unused. In July 2012, the new Network Rail headquarters on the site became operational.
The stadium was built in 1995 as a new national field hockey stadium, with a synthetic pitch. The ground was used for national and international (field) hockey until 2003. It had a covered main stand running the full length of one side of the pitch, opposite which was an unroofed stand running about one third of the length of the pitch, straddling the halfway line.
In 1997, the stadium was used as the venue for the sixth edition of the FIH Men's Junior World Cup. It was also the venue, in 2000, for the FIH Women's Qualifying Tournament for the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.
In 2003, when the ground was leased to Wimbledon F.C., a grass pitch was laid, meaning that the stadium was out of commission for hockey. Temporary stands were added at either end of the pitch. Hockey internationals and playoff matches were reallocated to various leading club grounds around the country. In May 2007, at the end of the lease, the temporary stands were removed.
On 2 April 2007 the trustees of the National Hockey Foundation, which owned the lease of the stadium, announced that they had arranged to hand the lease back to English Partnerships since a detailed study had shown that the stadium would no longer be viable as a hockey venue – particularly in light of the building of another hockey facility in Stratford, London, as part of the 2012 Olympics facilities.
The stadium was the home of Wimbledon Football Club from September 2003 until June 2004 and, after the club's rebranding, of Milton Keynes Dons until May 2007. The club moved in during 2003, converted the synthetic pitch to grass and added additional stands and seating (with up to 9,000 seats). Adjacent to the Home supporters stand (known as "The Cowshed"), a small herd of Concrete Cows stood 'grazing'. No one knows if these cows were the original ones, as there are many replicas around the city. As a result of the cow link, the team mascots are two pantomime-style cows named "Donny" and "Mooie". On several occasions, the cows were 'mooved' by jovial fans to make them look as if they were mating. In July 2007 the club moved to its new Stadium mk at Denbigh North, near Bletchley, prior to the start of the 2007–08 season. The home supporters end at the Denbigh stadium is still known as the Cowshed although the concrete cows have not followed.
Record attendance at the National Hockey Stadium: 8,306 v Tottenham Hotspur League Cup 3rd Round, 25 October 2006.
Average Attendance At the National Hockey Stadium: 2006–2007: 6,034 (League Two) 2005–2006: 5,776 (League One) 2004–2005: 4,896 (League One)
After the Dons left for Denbigh, the supplementary seating was disassembled, returning the capacity to 4,000. However, the venue was not used notably thereafter.
At end of October 2008, English Partnerships (owners of the site) announced agreement with Network Rail to make the site available for a new headquarters building, which meant that the stadium would be demolished.
On 17 December 2009, demolition of the stadium began and the site was cleared by March 2010.
- The stadium was just beside Milton Keynes Central railway station, near the A509 exit from the A5.
- Coordinates: Coordinates: /
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